Friday, September 30, 2011

**Success is not final, failure is not fatal.**
Winston Churchill

This morning -
CANARY ISLANDS - (8 so far) 2.5, 2.5, 3.1, 2.5, 3.1, 2.6, 2.9, 2.9

Yesterday -
9/29/11 -
CANARY ISLANDS - (22 total ) 2.5, 3.2, 3.7, 3.3, 3.2, 2.5, 2.5, 2.5, 2.6, 3.8, 2.6, 2.6, 3.0, 3.0, 3.3, 3.2, 3.3, 3.0, 2.5, 2.6, 3.6, 2.6

Geologist's Research Predicts Large Southern California Earthquake - The professor received a grant this year from the US Geological Survey's Earthquake Hazards Fund to study the fault history of the San Jacinto Fault Zone, which he said is one of the state's most seismically active areas and poses and threat to the Inland Empire. He believes such an event is due to happen anytime now.
“One of the main goals is to look for patterns — if there is a pattern, what is that pattern. So far, we’ve been able to document the timing of the last seven large earthquakes (larger than a 6.5 on the Richter scale), large enough to break the earth’s surface. “The timing between these last seven earthquakes has always been between 160 and 200 years. And so on average, there should be one large earthquake every 180 years … We estimate the last major earthquake was around 1800, so that was about 200 years ago, and if this pattern is consistent then we should be expecting another large earthquake.” Although the data isn’t conclusive enough to estimate the next large earthquake down to the exact year, he said the research helps him guess what areas of the state might be most impacted in the next large earthquake.
Even if a large earthquake, something greater than a 6.5 on the Richter scale, were to occur in Southern California, many people who live in this area have misconceptions about what such an event would mean.
“People sometimes ask me if a large earthquake could cause part of California to break off and fall into the ocean. It’s a myth — we are on a continent that is not floating, but solid rock all the way down. We could not be separated in one earthquake, although new waterways might be created.” Another misconception people have is that fault lines resemble large cracks in the earth’s surface. Actually, fault lines can be very difficult to see, and are not usually marked by large cracks - instead, researchers find fault lines by looking at rock or cliff formations which have side-to-side formations, or rivers and streams with s-shaped curves. “Most people have driven along a fault and not realized it. It can take years to find just the right sediment and excavate trenches and have a cross-sectional view of a fault.”


SOUTH CAROLINA - 9/28/11 - Coastal boom goes unexplained. A loud boom shook the coastal Lowcountry Wednesday morning, felt from Mount Pleasant to West Ashley. And once again, no one could say what it caused it. Seismographs didn’t pick up any earthquake activity. The Charleston Air Force Base didn’t report any military aircraft loosing sonic booms. No commercial vessels responded to a U.S. Coast Guard message asking for reports if it had been felt offshore. The blast hit just before 10 a.m.
“It was a pretty good shake, a pretty loud boom. I said it was probably one of those big electricity pillars getting pummeled down.” Doors, windows and houses shook in Mount Pleasant and on Sullivan’s Island, according to Twitter reports. In West Ashley, someone posting on Twitter said it sounded like a gust of wind against the house. About the same time a large tree fell across Hut Road on John’s Island and a nearby resident reported an explosion. Small quakes and other booms are regular occurrences in the Lowcountry, where a series of faults converge underground. The last big shake was a temblor from the 5.8 Richter Scale quake in Virginia in August. In March, a succession of three loud booms that were widely believed to be the Seneca Guns shook the coast.
Unexplained booms have been reported along coasts around the world almost as long as people have lived there. The sound is so close to the blast of a cannon that folk legend in the East says it’s made by the guns of Seneca Indians, fired to get revenge on the settlers who displaced them. The booms have been speculated to be caused by gases released from the sea floor, undersea landslides along the Continental Shelf, the echoed sound of distant thunder, lightning-like electrical discharges that don’t cause lightning, even meteors crashing into the atmosphere at angles.

TENNESSEE - 9/20 - 9/22/11 - A series of loud, mysterious booms heard and felt by residents in the Lashbrooke neighborhood in Louisville over the last week remains a mystery. These strange sounds have been heard as early as 5:30 a.m. It’s not coming from a nearby quarry. The earliest a quarry would begin blasting would be around 10 a.m. “I can certainly assure you this: we would never, ever blast that early in the morning (5 a.m.). We usually try to do it around lunch time like everyone else.”
Last Tuesday morning at around 5:30 a.m., “we woke up at the same time to this ginormous boom. And our house was shaking.” They originally thought someone had crashed a vehicle into the house. When they went outside, they found several concerned neighbors also walking around and looking at the sky and the roofs of their houses in an attempt to identify what had happened. The sounds continued throughout the week at different times of the day and at varying degrees of strength. Last Thursday some 30 or 40 booms were felt — the most the neighborhood has yet experienced in one day. “You can hear it and the pictures on the walls are shaking, the blinds are shaking. I mean it shakes the house. We don’t have any cracks in the foundation.”
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office came out to investigate in the middle of last week and reportedly contacted the military to find out if they had been conducting any flights where the sound of a sonic boom might be the causing the problems. Deputies were told no operations were currently being carried out that would make such a disturbance. No earthquakes had been recorded in the area.
At times the booms were spread out over several hours, sometimes several minutes. They even drove off at least one resident for one night last week, though she returned later the next day. Several others in the neighborhood also talked about taking shelter elsewhere until the booms blow over. And, at least for now, the sounds do appear to be coming less frequently and with less intensity. This week the booms have been heard only once or twice a day and without the tremors which last week caused several homes to rattle. And this is the first time anyone’s heard of or experienced anything like this. “We’re all kinds of baffled. We don’t know what’s going on.”


Sicily's Mount Etna erupts once again - Plumes of ash and molten rock shot into the sky on Wednesday night as the volcano burst into life for the fifteenth time this year. Nearby Catania airport is often forced to close due to the clouds of ash spewed into the air by an eruption but strong winds prevented the ash from causing any disruption this time around. The spate of recent activity at Etna, Europe's tallest and most active volcano, has sparked concerns that a bigger eruption may be on the horizon. (video)

Nabro volcano (Eritrea/Ethiopia) : evidence of ongoing activity. Nabro is an Eritrean volcano with NO historic eruption record. Satellite imagery suggests that the eruption of Nabro Volcano, which began in June 2011, continues. The volcano is located on the edge of the Danakil Desert, a remote and sparsely populated area on the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and few eyewitness accounts of the eruption are available.
Orbiting instruments such as the Advanced Land Imager aboard Earth Observing-1 may be the only reliable way to monitor Nabro. The images on September 28 show heat from vents in Nabro’s central crater as a red glow. Another hotspot about 1,300 meters (4,600 feet) south of the vents reveals an active lava flow. A pale halo surrounding the vents indicates the presence of a tenuous volcanic plume. South of Nabro’s crater, the dark, nearly black areas are coated with ash so thick it completely covers the sparse vegetation. On either side of this region is a thinner layer of ash with some bright green vegetation poking through. (photos)

CHILE - The eruption at Puyehue-Cordon Caulle continues to produce ash falls in the border region of Chile and Argentina. The activity has subsided considerable since the June start of the eruption, with plumes only reaching 3-5 km / 0000-16000 feet.

In the Atlantic -
-Category 1 Hurricane Ophelia was located about 735 mi. (1185 km) SSE of Bermuda. Tropical storm force winds are possible in Bermuda starting late Saturday.

-Tropical storm Philippe was located about 1355 mi (2185 km) W of the Cape Verde Islands. Disorganized Philippe will be no threat to land during the next few days.

In the Pacific -
-Tropical storm Hilary was located about 700 mi (1125 km) W of the southern tip of Baja California.

-Tropical storm 20w (Nesat) was located approximately 100 nm east of Hanoi, Vietnam.

-Tropical Storm 22w (Nalgae) was located approximately 500 nm east-northeast of Manila, Philippines.

Typhoon Nesat moves to Vietnam after hitting China - Powerful typhoon Nesat which forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes on an island in southern China appeared to have caused little damage Friday and was sweeping away from the country toward Vietnam.

Tropical Storm Ophelia has now strengthened into a hurricane as it moves away from the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica. Ophelia caused flooding and cut off communities on Dominica. About 1600 people were stranded on the island.

VIRGINIA - Roads damaged by Tropical Storm Lee still closed. Numerous secondary roads in the region damaged by Tropical Storm Lee earlier this month are still closed, the Virginia Department of Transportation reported. Some roads will be closed for months, others likely longer.


ENGLAND - Britons have basked in RECORD-BREAKING TEMPERATURES of 29C (84F) - hotter than the Bahamas - as forecasters predicted the mini-heatwave will last all weekend. The mercury peaked in the East Midlands, beating the previous September 29 high of 27.8C (82F), which was recorded in 1895. Forecasters had predicted record-breaking temperatures across London and the rest of the country.


SOLAR WIND BLASTS MERCURY: At a NASA teleconference yesterday, researchers working with data from the Messenger spacecraft offered new evidence that gusts of solar wind are penetrating Mercury's magnetic field and eroding material off the planet's surface. The spacecraft has actually flown through plumes of ionized sodium scoured from the surface and escaping from weak points in Mercury's magnetosphere.
Another "scouring event" could be in the offing. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory observed two farside CMEs on Sept 29th, and one of them is heading for Mercury. It should hit Mercury on October 1st at 02:13 UT +/- 7 hours. Forewarned, mission scientists for the Messenger probe can be attentive to the CME's arrival and observe its effects on Mercury. According to the CME's forecast track, the cloud will hit Venus later the same day. The ability to forecast CME impacts on other planets is a new development in space weather forecasting made possible by NASA's deployment of spacecraft around the full circumference of the sun.

REVERBERATIONS: A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Sept. 26th, sparking ONE OF THE STRONGEST MAGNETIC STORMS IN YEARS. At the peak of the Kp=8 disturbance, auroras were sighted around both poles and more than half a dozen US states. Magnetic reverberations continued for more than 48 hours. Sky watchers at the highest latitudes should remain alert for auroras as Earth's magnetic field remained unsettled on Sept. 29th.

NASA Reduces Estimate of Near-Earth Asteroids - New observations by a NASA space telescope that mapped the entire sky suggest that there are fewer potentially threatening asteroids in the solar system than previously thought. The latest survey found significantly fewer near-Earth asteroids in the mid-size range than previously estimated. The findings also indicate NASA has found more than 90 percent of the largest near-Earth asteroids, including those the size of the one thought to be responsible for the dinosaurs' extinction 65 million years ago. The asteroid-hunting portion of the mission, used the data to catalog more than 157,000 asteroids in the main belt and discovered more than 33,000 new ones. "It's like a population census, where you poll a small group of people to draw conclusions about the entire country."
The latest discovery tallies are roughly 19,500 mid-size near-Earth asteroids, down from an original estimate of 35,000 which suggests that the threat to Earth could be somewhat less than previously thought. But most of these mid-size asteroids remain to be discovered. More research also is needed to determine if fewer mid-size objects (between 330 and 3,300 feet wide) also mean fewer that might threaten the Earth. Meanwhile, the data reveal only a small decline in the estimated numbers for the largest near-Earth asteroids, which are 3,300 feet (one kilometer) and larger. Scientists now believe there are 981 large near-Earth asteroids about the size of a small mountain, compared with the earlier estimate of 1000, of which 911 have been located and are being tracked. None of the larger asteroids represents a threat to Earth in the next few centuries. It is believed that all near-Earth asteroids approximately six miles (10 kilometers) across, as big as the one thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs, have been found. "The risk of a really large asteroid impacting the Earth before we could find and warn of it has been substantially reduced," since NASA can keep tabs on the largest asteroids. We now know there are "somewhat fewer medium-sized asteroids ... but fewer does not mean none and there are still tens of thousands out there that we need to find."


-Andrew Williamson Fresh Produce is voluntarily recalling one lot of organic grape tomatoes sold under the Limited Edition® and Fresh & Easy labels due to a possible health risk from Salmonella.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Evacuation of smallest Canary Island begins after earthquake swarm sparks fears of volcanic eruption - 108 square mile island is home to 10,000 people. More than 8,000 tremors have been recorded on the island in the last two months.
The island of El Hierro is preparing for a mass evacuation because of a possible volcanic eruption. Experts have recorded 150 tremors on El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands, since yesterday - raising fears of an imminent eruption. Last night 53 people were ordered out of their homes over fears of landslides and the army has been called in to prepare for a possible evacuation.
Schools on the tiny island have been closed and a tunnel linking the two main towns - Frontera and Valverde - has been shut. 'There is a ball of magma rising to the surface producing a series of ruptures which generate seismic activity. We don't know if that ball of magma will break through the crust and cause an eruption.' An eruption is possible 'in days, weeks or months'.
The Canary Island government began a geological survey of El Hierro earlier this month to determine what was causing the tremors. It raised the volcanic risk to 'yellow' on Sunday - the highest alert status since the earthquake 'swarm' began in July. Some experts said a volcanic explosion could actually attract more tourists to the island. The last volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands took place on the nearby island of La Palma in 1971. The last eruption on El Hierro, which has around 250 small volcanic craters, was in 1793 and lasted for a month.
Most of the islands are still volcanically active and there has been speculation that a smaller, previously undetected fault line also runs through the chain. El Hierro - which means 'iron' in Spanish - was formed after three volcanic eruptions 100 million years ago and is topped by a volcano more than 6,000ft high. Volcanic activity, mainly where three ridge lines converge, has caused El Hierro to expand continually. Some 50,000 years ago, massive landslides triggered by earthquakes caused a large part of the island to crack off and fall into the Atlantic Ocean. That created the El Golfo valley on the island and caused an 300ft-high tsunami that probably reached the American coast. This feeds into the belief that volcanic activity on La Palma - the most tectonically active of the Canary Islands - could trigger a mega-tsunami. The theory - which has never been confirmed - claims that a possible fault line through the island would cause a major landslide under certain circumstances. That landslide would then spark a tsunami that would cause extensive damage all down the Atlantic Coast of the U.S., the Caribbean, Western Europe, West Africa and the east coast of South America. (photos & maps)

**If newspapers were written by people
whose sole object in writing was
to tell the truth about politics and the truth about art
we would not believe in war, and we would believe in art.**
-Virginia Woolf

This morning -
CANARY ISLANDS - (13 so far; larger magnitudes) 2.6, 2.6, 3.1, 3.0, 3.3, 2.8, 3.2, 3.3, 3.0, 2.5, 2.6, 3.6, 2.6

Yesterday -
9/28/11 -
CANARY ISLANDS - (55 total) 2.6, 2.9, 3.5, 2.6, 2.5, 2.5, 2.9, 2.5, 2.5, 2.8, 2.6, 2.6, 3.2, 2.6, 2.6, 2.6, 2.6, 3.3, 2.8, 2.8, 2.9, 2.9, 2,8, 2.9, 2.8, 2.6, 2.5, 2.7, 2.6, 2.5, 2.8, 2.7, 3.3, 2.8, 2.5, 2.8, 2.8, 2.7, 2.9, 2.8, 2.6, 2.6, 3.4, 2.6, 2.5, 2.8, 2.8, 2.7, 3.3, 2.7, 2.5, 2.8, 3.0, 1.8, 2.7


CANARY ISLANDS - Police have moved residents and tourists from houses at the foot of the volcano on Spain's Canary Islands after a growing series of earthquakes raised fears of an eruption. With the Pico de Malpaso mountain spitting rocks intermittently and a growing rumbling underground, authorities made emergency preparations in case the volcano blows its top on the Atlantic island of El Hierro. "I have NEVER FELT SHAKING LIKE IT. I notice it especially at night. We can also hear a rumbling and sounds from deep down." [Site note - This is similar to the reports of sounds heard before the big Indonesian quake in 2004.]
53 residents and tourists had been evacuated to protect them from the occasional flying volcanic rock and the defence ministry said it was preparing emergency shelter for 2,000 people. The evacuation disrupted the holidays of a number of tourists. "This is too dangerous. We cannot stay."
The Canary Islands regional government said it was in a state of pre-alert and was stocking drinking water and medical supplies, but officials played down any risk of a disaster. "We will not have to evacuate the island," said the head of the island's local council. "The number of tremors has increased, but most of them are in the sea." The municipal official said the authorities did not expect an "imminent eruption" and the island's official risk alert for the 1,500-metre peak remained on yellow, or intermediate. The national defence ministry said it had sent 31 military personnel to the island to help with the evacuation and the Defence Minister was heading there to inspect the emergency preparations.
The Spanish National Geographic Institute has recorded 8,000 tremors since July 19, most of them too small to be felt, but they have been growing in intensity. One recorded overnight on Wednesday reached 3.4 magnitude. "We HAVE NOT SEEN THIS KIND OF MOVEMENT WITH SUCH FREQUENCY ON EL HIERRO SINCE RECORDS BEGAN" more than a century ago.

In the Atlantic -
-Tropical storm Ophelia was located about 180 mi.(285 km) ENE of the northern Leeward Islands.

-Tropical storm Philippe was located about 1115 mi (1795 km) W of the Cape Verde Islands.

In the Pacific -
-Tropical storm Hilary was located about 645 mi (1040 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja California. Hilary is expected to become a tropical depression tonight and weaken to a remnant low on Friday.

-Typhoon 20w (Nesat) was located approximately 400 nm east-southeast of Hanoi, Vietnam.

-Typhoon 22w (Nalgae) was located approximately 800 nm east-northeast of Manila, Philippines.

NESAT - Hong Kong has locked down, suspending financial markets, schools and transport services as strong winds from the deadly typhoon Nesat bring disruption to the city. The Hong Kong Observatory issued a number eight tropical cyclone warning at 4.40am today (6:40am AEST), as winds of 63km/h hit the financial hub, bringing down trees. In the observatory's typhoon warning scale, signal number 10 is the highest signal. The typhoon was centred about 350 kilometres south-south-west of the territory and was forecast to move across the northern part of the South China Sea towards China's Hainan Island to western Guangdong.
Death toll in Philippines rises to 35, likely to climb further, with dozens of people missing two days after Nesat walloped the country. Nesat smashed into the Philippines' main island of Luzon on Tuesday, bringing heavy rains and wind that caused storm surges and massive flooding. Flood waters have been slowly subsiding, although large areas remain submerged, particularly vast tracts of farm lands. Soldiers, police and other rescue personnel had been working non-stop to help those affected, but with 45 still listed as missing, the death toll will climb. Many of the missing were fishermen who set sail ahead of the storm despite warnings to remain on land. Authorities sending out boats to rescue people stranded on the roofs of their houses. Tens of thousands of people are battling neck-deep floodwaters. At 4pm on Wednesday, Nesat was spotted over the West Philippine Sea about 300 kilometres away from Baguio City in Northern Luzon and roaring toward Vietnam and China.

NALGAE - Wednesday, a new tropical cyclone was bearing down on the Philippines, barely a day after typhoon “Pedring” (international name Nesat) left the country. Quiel (international name Nalgae) was spotted developing in the Pacific Ocean and could grow into a typhoon [already has] as it neared Northern Luzon, which also bore the disastrous impact of Pedring (Nesat) along with Metro Manila. “Our initial trade-line shows it may hit Northern Luzon. But it is still too early to tell because it might still change course.”


Mid-latitude cyclone over the midwestern United States - The center of the storm appeared immediately west of Lake Michigan. The storm was at its most mature stage on September 26. Sporting a comma shape spanning hundreds of kilometers, the storm was comprised of a combination of warm, moist air (clouds) and cold, dry air (cloud-free areas).
Mid-latitude cyclones drive most of the stormy weather in the continental United States. Development of these cyclones often involves a warm front from the south meeting a cold front from the north. In the Northern Hemisphere, cyclones move in a counterclockwise direction. (In the Southern Hemisphere, cyclones are clockwise.) The bands of cold and warm air wrap around a center of low pressure, and air rising near the center spurs the development clouds and precipitation. In this region, “cold air eventually wins out and wraps completely around a storm. This is called a ‘cold core’ storm and has cut itself off from the main flow of the jet stream.” This is why the September 26 storm appears stalled near Chicago. ( animation of the storm from September 25 to September 27.)


Large sunspot will soon face Earth - Astronomers are closely watching the skies for possible solar storms. A large sunspot is slowly rotating toward Earth and could produce potentially dangerous solar flares. The sunspot, known as NOAA Active Region 1302, or AR1302, has already produced three large solar flares, including one that created auroras over five U.S. states and points north Tuesday night. The sunspot is less than one day from “disk center,” the point at which any coronal mass ejections that erupt from the sun will likely hit Earth. In a worst case scenario particles from a coronal mass ejection could disable satellites and even disrupt power grids. This is possible, but not likely. AR1302 is a huge sunspot group that is 60,000 miles across, a diameter eight times that of Earth. Scientists say the current solar cycle should peak in 2013.


-Pepperidge Farm is recalling a limited quantity of 10.2-ounce boxes of Baked Naturals Sesame Sticks as a precaution due to the possible presence of small, thin pieces of wire.
-Publix Super Markets is issuing a voluntary recall for spinach dip because it may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes.
-Del Bueno of Grandview, WA is recalling all 16oz. size packages of Queso Fresco Casero Fresh Cheese with a date stamp of Sept 14, 2011 because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
-Fine Mexican Food Products, Inc. Recalls 2.2 lb. Frozen Avocado Pulp & 3 lb. IQF Avocado Halves From Peru because of the possibility to be contaminated with Listeria Monocytogenes.
-Sanith Ourn Farm of Indiantown, Fl, is recalling Fresh Hot Basil herb because it may have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
-The FDA is warning consumers not to eat Rocky Ford Cantaloupe shipped by Jensen Farms and to throw away recalled product that may still be in their home. Distributed to at least 17 states with possible further distribution. The recalled cantaloupes have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria and may be linked to a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis.
-Carol’s Cuts recalls fresh cut cantaloupe and cut mixed fruit containing cantaloupe because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Distributed in KS, Mo, and NE.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Scientists warn of massive wave - While stressing that there is no indication it could happen soon, Atlantic coastlines in Europe, Africa and the Americas are under threat from a monster wave of Hollywood -- even Biblical -- proportions, scientists have warned. They fear that a massive landslide following a major volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands would send a 300-foot wave across the Atlantic, causing devastation to coastal towns and cities. British and U.S. scientists who have issued the warning predict that, in the worst-case scenario, the tidal wave would destroy the coasts of Florida and Brazil. But the Western Sahara, Portugal, Spain, France and parts of the UK would also be hit.
They fear that the mega-wave - a tsunami - could be generated by part of a mountain twice the size of Britain's Isle of Man crashing into the sea following an eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma, in the Canary Islands -- part of the Spanish island chain off West Africa. Travelling at speeds of up to 500mph, the tsunami would be an unstoppable force and would be the biggest-ever recorded in history. Previous research predicted that a future eruption of Cumbre Vieja was likely to cause the western flank of the mountain to slide into the sea.
The energy released by the collapse would be equal to the electricity consumption of the entire U.S. in six months. Immediately after the landslide, a dome of water almost 900 metres (3,000 ft) high and tens of kilometres wide will form, only to collapse and rebound. Its first target was expected to be the West Saharan coast of Morocco, where the wave would measure a devastating 330ft from crest to trough. Propelled by a series of crests and troughs, the tsunami would travel a distance of almost 155 miles in just 10 minutes, the model predicts. Racing at the speed of a jet aircraft, it would reach Florida and the Caribbean in eight or nine hours.
A wall of water 164ft high - higher than Nelson's column in London's Trafalgar Square - would smash into the coasts of Florida and the Caribbean islands, the forecast predicts. The northern coast of Brazil would be hit by a wave more than 130ft high. The wave would travel four or five miles inland, flattening everything in its path.
[This article is from 2001 - note the number of Canary Island quakes currently occurring.]

**All that we are is the result of what we have thought.**

This morning -
CANARY ISLANDS - 2.5, 2.8, 2.8, 3.4, 2.5, 2.8, 2.7, 3.3, 2.7, 2.5, 2.8, 3.0, 1.8, 2.7

Yesterday -
9/27/11 -
CANARY ISLANDS - 2.6, 3.0, 2.7, 2.7, 2.9, 3.0, 2.6, 2.9, 2.9, 2.8, 3.1, 2.9, 2.5, 3.5, 2.8, 3.4, 2.8, 2.6, 3.8, 2.5, 3.6, 2.6, 2.7, 2.5, 2.8, 2.5, 2.5, 2.6, 2.6, 2.5, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4, 2.7, 2.6, 2.9, 2.6, 2.6,


ICELAND - Did Katla volcano erupt under the ice this summer? An Icelandic geophysicist says that the Katla volcano probably already erupted this summer without breaking the surface of the glacier. He believes that a small volcanic eruption at Katla was the reason for this summer’s glacial flood in the Mulakvisl river.
When a jokulhlaup flood happens, it is the result of geothermal heat having melted ice, which collects under great pressure before bursting free in a short, sharp flood. They can cause large areas of glacier to subside. When the Mulakvisl flood happened this summer four parts of the Myrdalsjokull glacier sank down. There was also a very sharp subsidence event in the middle of the volcanic crater — a phenomenon the Icelandic Met Office geophysicists HAD NOT SEEN BEFORE. “It is an indication that a very quick melt took place under there. The glacier seems to have melted very quickly from underneath and it is difficult to see how that could have happened unless there had been a small eruption under there.”
To back up his theory that Katla erupted this summer, he says that when the flooding took place, there was a lot of seismic activity under the glacier, similar to when an eruption is taking place. In fact, he says, there was more seismic activity than during 2010′s Fimmvorduhals eruption. “That is the second pointer which indicates that molten lava came into contact with the ice under the glacier." If a small Katla eruption did take place this summer, it does not necessarily mean that the pressure inside the volcano dropped significantly, or that another eruption is less likely than it otherwise would have been.

In the Atlantic -
-Tropical depression Ophelia was located about 235 mi.(380 km) E of the northern Leeward Islands. Ophelia is expected to become a tropical storm again today.

-Tropical storm Philippe was located about 865 mi (1390 km) W of the Cape Verde Islands. Phillipe is forecast to weaken into a tropical depression today.

In the Pacific -
-Category 2 Hurricane Hilary was located about 635 mi (1020 km) SW of the southern tip of Baja California.
Hilary is expected to weaken into a tropical storm today.

-Typhoon 20w (Nesat) was located approximately 640 nm east-southeast of Hanoi, Vietnam.

-Tropical Storm 22w (Nalgae) was located approximately 935 nm east-northeast of Manila, Philippines.

Philippines cleans up after Typhoon Nesat - A huge clean-up operation is under way in the Philippines after Typhoon Nesat battered the capital Manila and the main island, Luzon. The death toll rose to 18 with 35 still missing after heavy rain and powerful winds triggered storm surges. Most deaths occurred in and around Manila. Nesat is now in the South China Sea with 120km/h (75mph) winds and due to reach China's Hainan Island on Thursday evening or early Friday.
Power supplies were gradually being restored to central Manila on Wednesday. However, more than a million people in Luzon remained without power. Emergency teams were clearing away fallen trees, debris and broken-down cars while schools and offices reopened. Crews were also repairing and clearing 61 road networks across Luzon damaged by landslides, debris and flooding. Some areas are still under water. Huge waves had breached the sea wall allowing water from Manila Bay to engulf wide areas. "This is THE FIRST TIME THAT THIS KIND OF FLOODING HAPPENED HERE." Flooding in Luzon was made worse when the government released water from four dams that had reached critical levels in Bulacan province.
Meanwhile, another tropical storm brewing in the Pacific Ocean could hit the Philippines within the week. "We need to finish emergency work in the aftermath of Nesat before this storm comes. We are praying for the skies to clear a little bit today." Nesat, which had a diameter of 650km (400 miles) and carried gusts of up to 170km/h (105 mph), made landfall just before dawn on Tuesday on the Pacific coast. The Philippines suffers frequent typhoons but Nesat is thought to be the largest this year. It comes almost exactly two years after Typhoon Ketsana killed more than 400 people.

Tropical Storm Haitang hit Vietnam's central provinces on Tuesday before downgrading into a depression later in the afternoon and moving towards central neighboring Laos.

Pennsylvania - there are still 114 people living in shelters, weeks after the flooding caused by tropical storm Lee in the eastern and central parts of the state.


Colorado cantaloupes kill up to 16 in listeria outbreak - At least 13 deaths and 72 illnesses have been linked to a listeria outbreak from Colorado cantaloupes, health officials say, in THE DEADLIEST FOOD OUTBREAK IN MORE THAN A DECADE. Three other deaths may also be related to the tainted fruit, which are linked to a farm in Holly and have been recalled. Bacteria were also found on equipment and produce at the farm's packing site. The FDA is investigating how the contamination may have happened.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns the number of incidents is likely to grow, since symptoms can take four weeks or more to appear. "That long incubation period is a real problem. People who ate a contaminated food two weeks ago or even a week ago could still be falling sick weeks later." Most healthy adults are unlikely to suffer ill effects from listeria, however the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable.
Since 31 July, incidents have been reported in 18 US states with fatalities confirmed in areas as disparate as Texas, New Mexico and Maryland. Listeria thrives in low temperatures and outbreaks are rarely associated with fresh produce. Listeria bacteria can grow at room temperature, even refrigerator temperatures, unlike many other pathogens. The CDC and US Food and Drug Administration have advised that all potentially contaminated produce is thrown away immediately, and that any surfaces it may have touched are sanitised.
In 1988, 21 people died in a listeria outbreak from contaminated hot dogs, while in 1985, 52 deaths were linked to listeria contamination in Mexican-style soft cheese. The CDC says around 800 listeria cases are reported in the US each year.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Canary Island prepares for eruption - Minor earthquakes have been reported on El Hierro, indicating a slim chance that a volcano could erupt on the Spanish Canary Island, an expert said on Monday. About 8,000 tremors have been registered on El Hierro since July 19. More than 30 quakes occurred on Monday.
Most of the tremors so far have been too weak to be noticed by residents. The strongest, which registered at a magnitude of 3.4, was felt all over the island on Saturday. The seismic movements indicated that magmatic material was pressing towards the Earth's surface. There is ONLY ABOUT A 10% LIKELIHOOD that the seismic movements will lead to a volcanic eruption.
Even in that case, the eruption is expected to occur so slowly that it would leave the authorities time to evacuate residents. The authorities are informing the island's 10,000 residents about the possibility of an eruption and on what to do if that happened. El Hierro has not seen a volcanic eruption since 1793. The eruption lasted approximately one month and produced lava flows.
The Canary Islands Government has raised the alert level for the El Hierro volcano in the Canary Islands (Spain) to 'Yellow', the highest alert status since an UNPRECEDENTED earthquake swarm commenced July 19. The raising of the alert level does not indicate that an eruption is imminent. However, the number of volcanic earthquakes detected beneath El Hierro continues to increase.
The Canary Islands Government commenced an in-depth geological survey of El Hierro earlier this month in an effort to determine the source of an earthquake swarm. In excess of 6,750 earthquakes have been recorded up to Monday, 26 September 2011. More than 50 earthquakes were recorded between midnight and 6:00 a.m. GMT on Monday alone. The earth tremors have ranged between 1 and 3 magnitude. The vast majority of the tremors have been recorded in the northwest of the 278.5-square-kilometre island at El Golfo, the location of a massive landslide that created a 100-metre high tsunami almost 50,000 years ago.
An eruption on El Hierro would “not be a major surprise”. “It is the youngest of the Canary Islands. There is a ball of magma which is rising to the surface and it is stationed at the limit of the earth’s crust. At the moment we do not know if that ball of magna will break the crust and cause an eruption.”
During an eruption, the western flank of the Cumbre Vieja could slide into the ocean. This could then potentially generate a giant wave termed a “megatsunami” around 650–900 m high in the region of the islands. The wave would radiate out across the Atlantic and inundate the eastern seaboard of North America including the American, the Caribbean and northern coasts of South America some six to eight hours later. They estimate that the tsunami will have waves possibly 160 ft (49 m) or more high causing massive devastation along the coastlines. Modelling suggests that the tsunami could inundate up to 25 km (16 mi) inland – depending upon topography. (maps & photos)

**The superior man acts before he speaks,
and afterwards speaks according to his action.**

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/265/11 -

9/25/11 -

INDIA - Two quake-hit villages yet to be reached. A week after a devastating earthquake hit Sikkim, claiming 77 lives, the Herculean task of reconstruction has begun. Last Sunday's earthquake, which measured 6.8 in Richter scale, had triggered hundreds of landslides, blocking roads and cutting off villages. According to preliminary estimates, at least Rs 100 crore is required to restore road connectivity.
The army claimed it has accessed almost all the quake-hit villages, and that the task would be finished on Monday. But according to locals, two villages - Shipgyer and Saffu Salim-Pakyal - are yet to be reached. Bad weather hampered rescue and relief operations on Friday and Saturday, with helicopters carrying relief materials failing to take off. After the operations were resumed on Sunday afternoon, the army rescued 92 stranded people. By Sunday, special communication equipment, including satellite telephones, were also installed in 95% of the cut-off hamlets. The downpour over the last 48 hours had triggered 39 landslides and blocked parts of the National Highway 31A that connects Sikkim with the rest of the country. The road was blocked for seven hours at Singtam and was finally cleared in the noon. Landslides have also blocked parts of the 95-km North Sikkim road. There have been 54 major landslides in the 24-km stretch between Chunthang and Lachnung. On Sunday, the North Sikkim road was opened up to 1 km ahead of Toong, 21 km north of Mangan. But beyond that, the task is very difficult. A 14-km stretch between Toong and Chungthang has been washed away.
Sikkim quake survivors trek, crawl to safety - With rescue teams finding it difficult to reach far-flung quake-hit areas in Sikkim, hundreds of survivors are trekking out of their villages, crawling sometimes to negotiate dangerous stretches.
Hundreds of villagers from inaccessible higher areas of Lachung, Lachen and Chungthan have gathered in Tung after an arduous trek down and are being taken to safe places. “We panicked due to the fresh landslides triggered by rain at Lachen on Wednesday night, when huge boulders started hurtling down the hills...Next morning, we started trekking through extremely difficult terrains covered with debris." Some of the villagers had to crawl some distances since the wet soil could have caved in if they had walked on such stretches.
Labourers returning to Gangtok from the Teesta Stage III hydel project site at Chungthang in worst-hit North district on Friday claimed that 70 of their colleagues were still missing. A group of labourers belonging to the Euphoria company, one of the several companies engaged by the Teesta-Urja company, returned to Gangtok. They said there were around 5,000 people still at Chungthang, including labourers and project officials, and many bodies might still be trapped under debris. However, neither the North district administration nor the Teesta-Urja company has confirmed the labourers’ account. The labourers said nearly all houses at Chungthang were damaged and there was no clean water to drink.

Will there be more quakes in India? - yes - and no -
Even as the state is yet to recover from the devastating September 18 tremor, scientists say that more earthquakes in the seismic region are overdue. Geologists in Sikkim warn that another earthquake in the region might lead to topographical and morphological changes in the region and may even affect the course of Teesta, the major river flowing through this region. "Any earthquake particularly in the hilly region which is always considered topographically vulnerable, will experience a morphological and topographical change but the extent of change after this quake cannot be assessed right now. It will take some time...Though Teesta doesn’t fall in the seismological weak lineament, another earthquake in the region will lead to the increase of glacial lakes and it will definitely affect the course of the river. There are glacial lakes like Changekhempu and Zimo at Gurudambar lake which feeds Teesta. (In the event of an quake) these might start melting and increase in the flow of water will lead to flash floods and it might even to some extent change the course of the river. Moreover, there are many small glaciers in Lachenchu region which might start melting and we cannot also ignore the possibility of the creation of new glaciers but these are all subject to epicenter of the quakes and the intensity of it."
"If the acceleration is high at the epicenter of the earthquake, nothing will be stable and the glacial lake will bust. Unfortunately, a number of these lakes are located near seismic faults". Officials with Nepal’s National Seismological Centre said that at least half a dozen minor tremors are recorded in the Himalayas everyday.
"The main reason why we have not witnessed the busting of glacial lakes is because the region has not been hit by big earthquakes in recent times. And when the magnitude of the tremor is five or above we record many after shocks as well. We know that these activities are happening in the Himalayas but we cannot confirm whether they are happening in the nearby glacial lakes because there are hardly any seismic meters installed near the glacial lakes."
Quakes unlikely in Sikkim for next few years, says expert - Sikkim is unlikely to face any large earthquake over the next couple of years as vast energy has been released through last Sunday's tremors and aftershocks. Although the recent quake left scores dead and devastated vast areas in north Sikkim, the leading geologist says the damage would have been worse had its full fury been felt in the state's more populous south, where no building code is followed. "Though many people have died in Sikkim, I must say that Sikkim was lucky this time as the epicentre of the earthquake was the Sikkim-Nepal border. That is why the northern part faced the wrath and south Sikkim did not face much problem. It was quite a large earthquake and it also released a few aftershocks. So I can say that for at least the next couple of years there will be no such earthquake in Sikkim."
"I do not know from where reports are coming that Mangan is the epicentre. It is in the middle of Sikkim. Had Mangan been the epicentre, the whole of Bhutan and North Bengal up to Siliguri would have been in ruins." The main reason for earthquakes in India is the Indian plate going under the Eurasian plate. "It is going under at a rate 46 millimetres per year."

U.S. East Coast earthquake 'was certainly a wake-up call' - Geologists are gleaning rich trove of information on the RARE Eastern earthquake and working to find out whether more are on the way. A month after Virginia's second-largest earthquake, small aftershocks continue as geologists try to learn more about the tremor and whether more could be on the way. To date there have been hundreds of aftershocks - most of them imperceptible, detected only by seismic monitors. But others are still being felt near the epicenter, a few miles from Mineral in Louisa County.
Within hours after the magnitude-5.8 quake that struck at 1:51 p.m., on Aug. 23, geologists and seismologists rushed to Mineral to inspect the damage and to install additional monitors to record aftershocks. "This is the first large quake in the eastern part of the U.S. in modern times." The only stronger one was a magnitude-5.9 quake in the Giles area of Southwest Virginia, in 1897. Researchers want to know the area of the fault that ruptured to generate an earthquake of that size. One thing is already known: "This was a complex rupture, not a single slip. There were two main slips separated by six tenths of a second." There are two active earthquake areas in Virginia - one around Giles, and the other known as the Central Virginia Seismic Zone. Six ill-defined faults crisscross the zone between Charlottesville and Richmond. "By locating the aftershocks and doing studies of the main shock, we'll understand a lot more about how they rupture....These are not young faults. It's a reaction of old faults in a very different tectonic setting." But since Eastern rock tends to be very old and dense, the ground motion is felt much farther away, much like the ringing of a hammer on an anvil. The quake was felt from Georgia to Canada.
Aftershocks will probably continue for a while longer. "We're still in the period where things could happen. I'm not going to suggest anything bigger is coming, but can't rule out some more significant earthquakes in the not too distant future. A bigger one is possible, but not likely." So far, there have been more than 30 aftershocks of magnitude 2 or larger. One day last week there were three measuring 2, 2.1 and 2.6. "We really need the aftershock information. It's a critical component on how to estimate the hazard from future earthquakes, and how strong [the ground] is likely to shake." That's important for the development of building codes, for example.
The Aug. 23 jolt "was certainly a wake-up call, that's fair to say. Many business owners, government officials and citizens were not tuned in to the idea that there might be a strong earthquake." Still, scientifically the strength of the temblor was not a surprise. "We know that central Virginia is an area of increased seismic hazard," and the quake was not out of line with estimates of what could happen. "We do take into account that there could be larger earthquakes than this, and closer to an urban center. We were fairly lucky with this - not a single person died."

In the Atlantic -
Tropical storm Philippe was located about 715 mi. (1155 km) W of the Cape Verde Islands. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

In the Pacific -
-Category 3 Hurricane Hilary was located about 540 mi (870 km) SW of the southern tip of Baja California. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect. Swells generated by Hilary are affecting portions of the coast of southwestern Mexico and southern Baja California.

-Typhoon 20w was located approximately 125 nm north-northeast of Manila, Philippine.

-Tropical depression 21w (Haitang) was located approximately 25 nm east of Da Nang, Vietnam.

Typhoon Nesat slammed into the Philippines, killing a baby, as it brought heavy rain and strong wind that blew away roofs, uprooted small trees and toppled power lines.

Tropical Storm Haitang has weakened into a tropical depression and is expected to make landfall in Vietnam where a sailor has already died.

Tropical Storm Philippe had been expected to become a hurricane on Monday.


Tropical depression worsens flooding in Vietnam - As tropical depression Haitang in the East Sea was upgrading into a storm, central and southern Vietnam is suffering from more floods and heavy rain.


AUSTRALIA - Extreme to severe fire danger is forecast for many towns in western Queensland this week, with authorities urging residents to take notice.


SUBSIDING STORM: A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth on Sept. 26th, strongly compressing our planet's magnetic field, exposing geosynchronous satellites to solar wind plasma, and sparking a severe geomagnetic storm. The storm is subsiding now. Nevertheless, high-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras as Earth's magnetic field continues to reverberate from the CME impact.

SOLAR STATIC: Active sunspot 1302 has turned the sun into a shortwave radio transmitter. Shock waves rippling from the sunspot's exploding magnetic canopy are exciting plasma oscillations in the sun's atmosphere. The result: Bursts of static are issuing from the loudspeakers of shortwave radios on Earth. "Saturday was a super-strong solar day with near continuous flaring and radio sweeps."

STRONG SOLAR ACTIVITY: Having already unleashed two X-flares since Sept. 22nd, sunspot AR1302 appears ready for more. The active region has a complex "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic field that harbors energy for strong M- and X-class eruptions. Flares from AR1302 will become increasingly geoeffective as the sunspot turns toward Earth in the days ahead.


CDC notes 72% rise in water-related outbreaks - Outbreaks linked to both recreational water and drinking water have increased substantially, according to two reports from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cryptosporidium contamination and groundwater problems pose special challenges.
In 2007 and 2008, 134 outbreaks linked to recreational water were reported, up from 78 in the previous 2-year period — a nearly 72% increase. The CDC said in the first report that this is THE MOST OUTBREAKS EVER REPORTED DURING A 2-YEAR PERIOD. Outbreaks frequently involved treated water and resulted in acute gastrointestinal illnesses. Reported from 38 states and Puerto Rico, they occurred in all months of the year, but more than half (61%) occurred during summer months. Recreational waterborne outbreaks resulted in at least 13,996 illnesses. Parasites were the top cause of these outbreaks, led by Cryptosporidium, which was responsible for nearly 83% of infections involving gastrointestinal symptoms. Eighteen recreational water outbreaks were caused by bacteria, five were linked to viruses (all norovirus), and nine were linked to toxins such as chlorine gas. Modifying swimming behavior, such as bathing with soap before entering the water, is a key component of reducing the number of Cryptosporidium outbreaks. Other types of disinfection systems, such as ultraviolet and ozone, can inactivate the parasite and are available for treating recreational water. The CDC report also noted the challenges of controlling pathogens in other settings, such as spas, interactive fountains, fill-and-drain pools, and temporary water slides.
Outbreaks involving drinking water rose 80% over the previous 2 years, according to the second CDC report, which put the total at 36 outbreaks from 23 states and Puerto Rico. Those outbreaks caused 4,128 illnesses and 3 deaths. More than half (21) were linked to bacterial contamination, and 13 were associated with groundwater. Drinking water outbreaks predominately occurred in the spring and fall. Gastrointestinal illnesses led the outbreak symptom list. Twelve outbreaks were related to Legionella contamination, of which 5 occurred in hospitals and 3 in nursing homes. The CDC said the large role of untreated or inadequately treated groundwater suggests that more efforts are needed to monitor and protect it from contamination. It suggested that full implementation of 2006 groundwater legislation over the next few years is expected to reduce the number of related outbreaks, similar to what occurred after surface water regulations took effect. Though the findings pointed to the need for better control and elimination of Legionella, the CDC said more than half of the outbreaks were from one state (New York), which could stem from differences in outbreak detection and reporting.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

There will be no update tomorrow, Monday, 9/26.

UARS satellite falls somewhere off west coast of US - Where debris came down is "a bit of a mystery". Nasa says its six-tonne UARS satellite plunged to Earth over the Pacific Ocean, off the US west coast. It appears likely the decommissioned craft came down between 03:23 and 05:09 GMT - with a best estimate of 04:16. If correct, this means any debris that survived to the surface probably went into water and not on land.
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is the largest American space agency satellite to return uncontrolled into the atmosphere in about 30 years. The fall to Earth was monitored by the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Its best estimate for the timing of the re-entry would have seen UARS come in at a point located at 31 degrees North latitude and 219 degrees East longitude - well out into the North Pacific. However, if UARS re-entered many minutes after 04:16, it is possible debris could have reached the American landmass.
There were some unconfirmed reports of glowing wreckage moving across the sky in western Canada, but Nasa said it had yet to receive credible evidence that this was so, less still that any debris items had been found. "Obviously, we're going to continue to keep our eyes and ears open, and if we receive any reports like that we'll try to go verify." Most of the 20-year-old satellite should simply have burnt up on re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, but modelling work indicated perhaps 500kg could have survived to the surface.
Calculations estimated this material would have been scattered over an 800km path. Nonetheless, with more than 70% of the Earth's surface covered by water, many experts had offered the view in recent weeks that an ocean grave was going to be the most probable outcome for UARS. "Because we don't know where the re-entry point actually was, we don't know where the debris field might be. If the re-entry point was at the time that JSPOC has its best guess of 04:16 GMT then all that debris wound up in the Pacific Ocean."
In the past few days, Nasa had warned members of the public not to touch any pieces of the spacecraft that might survive the fall to land, urging them to contact local law enforcement authorities instead. "I've seen some things that have re-entered and they tend to have sharp edges, so there's a little concern that they might hurt themselves if they try to pick them up." Tracking stations will typically witness the uncontrolled return of at least one piece of space debris every day; and on average, one intact defunct spacecraft or old rocket body will come back into the atmosphere every week. Something the size of UARS is seen perhaps once a year. Much larger objects such as space station cargo ships return from orbit several times a year, but they are equipped with thrusters capable of guiding their dive into a remote part of the Southern Ocean.

**Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods.**
Japanese Proverb

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/24/11 -

9/23/11 -

INDIA - Fearing fresh tremors and landslides, hundreds of people in quake-hit remote areas of Sikkim started moving out of their villages as rescue teams airlifted 22 stranded engineers and with the death toll in last Sunday's 6.8 devastating temblor rising to 118.


ICELAND - New Quakes Rattle Glacier Covering Katla Volcano. An earthquake measuring just below three points on the Richter scale was picked up by sensors north of Godabunga in Mýrdalsjökull glacier in south Iceland, which covers the volcano Katla.

No current tropical storms.
In the Atlantic -
-Tropical storm Ophelia was located about 310 mi. (495 km) E of the northern Leeward Islands. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

-Tropical storm Philippe was located about 370 mi. (595 km) SW of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands. Philippe could become a hurricane by late Monday. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

In the Pacific -
-Category 4 Hurricane Hilary was located about 425 mi. (685 km) SSE of the southern tip of Baja California.
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

-Typhoon 20w (Nesat) was located approximately 560 nm east of Manila, Philippines.

-Tropical Storm 21w (Haitang) was located approximately 280 nm east of Hue, Vietnam.

Tropical Storm Ophelia re-strengthened Friday as it headed across the Atlantic Ocean and took aim at the Caribbean. Ophelia was expected to start weakening again by Saturday night.

Tropical Storm Philippe has formed over the far eastern Atlantic, about 550 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

Hurricane Hilary blamed for 3 deaths in Mexico.

PHILIPPINES - 'Pedring' intensifies, threatens north Luzon. Tropical cyclone “Pedring" (international code name Nesat) intensified slightly and accelerated Sunday, with state weather forecasters indicating it may intensify into a typhoon before making landfall in Northern Luzon later this week.


First Irish case of death by spontaneous combustion - A man who burned to death in his home died as a result of spontaneous combustion, an Irish coroner has ruled. The West Galway coroner said it was the first time in 25 years of investigating deaths that he had recorded such a verdict. Michael Faherty, 76, died at his home in Galway on 22 December 2010.
Deaths attributed by some to "spontaneous combustion" occur when a living human body is burned without an apparent external source of ignition. Typically police or fire investigators find burned corpses but no burned furniture. Investigators had been baffled as to the cause of Mr Faherty's death at his home at Clareview Park, Ballybane. Forensic experts found that a fire in the fireplace of the sitting room where the badly burnt body was found, had not been the cause of the blaze that killed Mr Faherty. The court was told that no trace of an accelerant had been found and there had been nothing to suggest foul play. He had been found lying on his back with his head closest to an open fireplace. The fire had been confined to the sitting room. The only damage was to the body, which was totally burnt, the ceiling above him and the floor underneath him.
A book on forensic pathology had written about spontaneous combustion and noted that such reported cases were almost always near an open fireplace or chimney. "This fire was thoroughly investigated and I'm left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation."
A retired professor of pathology said he had examined one suspected case in his career. He said he would not use the term spontaneous combustion, as there had to be some source of ignition, possibly a lit match or cigarette. "There is a source of ignition somewhere, but because the body is so badly destroyed the source can't be found." The circumstances in the Galway case were very similar to other possible cases. "This is the picture which is described time and time again. Even the most experienced rescue worker or forensic scientist takes a sharp intake of breath (when they come across the scene)."

Friday, September 23, 2011

**If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.**
Lao Tzu

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
9/22/11 -

Indian Authorities Reach Remote Quake-Affected Villages - Authorities have reached remote villages in northeast India that have been cut off since Sunday, when the 6.9 earthquake hit the Himalayan region, killing at least 109 people. The epicenter of Sunday's quake was in the Indian state of Sikkim, but deaths and damage were also reported in West Bengal and Bihar states, Nepal, Bhutan and the Chinese region of Tibet. Rescue efforts in Sikkim have been hampered by heavy rain, fog, and roads blocked by landslides. Nine villages in the north are still cut off. The earthquake caused more than $20 billion in damage.
Anger over 'lethargic response' to India Sikkim quake - In parts of the earthquake-hit Indian state of Sikkim, conditions on the ground are little short of apocalyptic. Entire areas are cut off because of landslides - and more often than not people are without clean water, adequate food supplies, medicine and telephone contact with the outside world. Sikkim's hospitals have seldom been so full. With local people bereft of help, it is hardly surprising that this disaster has created some resentment among them. "Why are reporters focusing on the good work by the government, while no aid has reached any of the villages?" one of them angrily demanded.
"It is impossible to take the seriously injured to the hospital because army helicopters are hovering with ministers in the sky." The villagers say little aid has been delivered beyond Mangan, although food packets have been air-dropped intermittently by the Indian air force. It is estimated that about 100,000 houses have been damaged Chungthang is in the southern end of north Sikkim and it is in this area that the quake has been the most catastrophic. Hardly any parts of north Sikkim, connecting India to Tibetan plateau, have received any substantial aid since Sunday. There have been no more than one or two daily helicopter sorties. "Two helicopters can carry no more than three or four tonnes of food or medical supplies - and that is nothing for thousands of villagers." Apart from rescuing a handful of tourists, the authorities have remained largely "inactive" in the face of a huge humanitarian disaster. "The roads are still cut off, there is no supply of electricity or telephone connectivity and the villagers have to arrange for the rebuilding of houses while providing first aid to the injured."
So has the response of the authorities been inadequate? Whatever the answer, there is no doubt they face numerous formidable challenges. Principal among these are landslides, still taking place on a regular basis because of the quake and because recent heavy rainfall has loosened much of the mountainous land mass.
The state government may be stating the obvious when it reiterates that aid cannot get through while roads remained blocked, but it remains a valid point. One such post-quake landslide recently washed away several houses in Jaangu area, close to Chungthang. "We are still counting the casualties."
While the main road link connecting Sikkim to mainland India - national highway 31A - has reopened with a disturbed traffic flow, Border Roads Organisation employees say that the task of clearing the highways is not getting any easier. Relief is being delivered, but critics say it is too little, too late "We are working around the clock but even then traffic movement remains disrupted." The loosening of the land mass meant that no sooner had the highway been "cleaned" than more rocks and trees would fall down on top of it from the surrounding mountains. One such landslide killed at least 17 workers in a hydropower plant in Chungthang, with employees literally bombarded by falling boulders. The Sikkim government has admitted that the situation in north Sikkim is worrying and "no solution is in sight in the immediate future". While "roads are being totally washed away" in and around Chungthang, it will take time to re-establish communication links.
In the meantime government officials at the forefront of the relief effort have been left with no option other than to trek 30-40km (18-24 miles) to reach places like Chungthang, Lachen, Lachung and Thangu valley, all close to India's border with Tibet. So while the government relief effort is getting off the ground - with aid workers, doctors and disaster management teams being air-dropped in some areas - the numbers are small and the need is great. On Wednesday there were 18 helicopter sorties that carried about 40 tonnes of food packets and medical supplies. "That by no standard is adequate for hundreds of thousands of people."
Meanwhile in the state capital Gangtok water supplies are becoming increasingly irregular. The state government has announced that water will only be supplied on alternate days in municipal areas. If poor sanitation and water-borne diseases become problems, hospitals in the city are already flooded with patients, most with broken limbs. "Conditions are going from bad to worse as more patients arrive for treatment, having walked from distant villages to Gangtok." With no hope in sight for the beleaguered inhabitants of north Sikkim, the Indian home minister is visiting Gangtok "to take stock of the situation". He does not need a team of advisers to realise that the state is facing its worst crisis in recent years and that the under-powered relief effort now needs to move into top gear.


In the Atlantic -
Ttropical storm Ophelia was located about 820 mi. (1315 km) ESE of the Leeward Islands. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

In the Pacific -
Category 4 Hurricane Hilary was located about 85 mi. (140 km) SW of Acapulco, Mexico. The core of Hilary will continue to move parallel to the southwest coast of Mexico, but any deviation to the north of the track could bring stronger winds to the coast. Hilary is a small tropical cyclone. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 25 miles...35 km...from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 80 miles...130 km.


PAKISTAN - Two million Pakistanis have fallen ill from diseases since monsoon rains left the southern region under several metres of water. More than 350 people have been killed and over eight million people have been affected this year by floods that officials say are WORSE in parts of Sindh province than last year, when the country saw its WORST EVER DISASTER. Malaria, diarrhoea, skin disease and snake bites were among the health problems facing two million people across 23 Sindh districts. The World Health Organization has said that there is a desperate shortage of clean drinking water in the south. The UN's children agency has pledged to distribute 200,000 litres of water to 40,000 people daily and deploy 40 more water tankers soon, to avert further disease.

INDIA - Flash floods in quake-hit Sikkim, 116 dead. Just days after the massive earthquake hit Sikkim, the northeastern state was hit by flash floods on Thursday . The flash floods hit Lachung, located in north Sikkim district near the China border. (youtube video)


InfraGard announces the launch of a nationwide special interest group (SIG) that will focus on threats that could cause nationwide long-term critical infrastructure collapse. Named the EMP SIG, after electromagnetic pulse, the SIG will cover all similarly dangerous hazards such as extreme space weather, coordinated physical attack, cyber attack or pandemics.
One of the SIG’s first activities will be the co-sponsorship with the US Congressional EMP Caucus and the National Defense University of a nationwide conference, “Severe Space Weather Threats to the US Electrical Grids” planned for Oct. 6, 2011 from 8:30 AM to 3 PM at the US Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium. This conference will provide initial reports on planning workshops and an exercise representing the first comprehensive efforts by federal, state, local government and the private sector to examine the potential for prolonged nationwide power outages and their cascading effects and begin mitigation efforts. The InfraGard National EMP SIG plans to assist in organizing private sector critical infrastructure stakeholders who wish to mitigate these threats and make their local communities more resilient.
The InfraGard Program began in 1996 as a collaborative effort between private sector cyber professionals and the FBI field office in Cleveland Ohio. The FBI later expanded the program to each of the FBI’s 56 field offices. In 2003 the private sector members of InfraGard formed the “InfraGard National Members Alliance” - comprised of 86 separate InfraGard Member Alliances representing over 45,000 FBI-vetted, InfraGard Subject Matter Experts. The INMA has a dual-focus value proposition. First, InfraGard provides its members with unmatched opportunities to promote the physical and cyber security of their organizations, through access to a trusted, national network of Subject Matter Experts from the public and private sectors. Secondly, it provides government stakeholders, at the local, state, and Federal levels, with unmatched access to the expertise and experience of critical infrastructure owners and operators.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

RE-ENTRY UPDATE: NASA has issued an update on the condition of the decaying UARS satellite: "As of 1:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 21, the orbit of UARS was 120 mi by 130 mi (190 km by 205 km). Re-entry is expected sometime during the afternoon of Sept. 23, Eastern Daylight Time. The satellite will NOT be passing over North America during that time period. It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any more certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 24 to 48 hours."
UARS is making its final orbits around Earth, tumbling and flashing brightly as it descends. The disintegration of UARS is expected to produce a fireball that could be visible even in broad daylight. As many as 26 potentially hazardous pieces of debris could be scattered along a ground track some 500 miles long.

**Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was.**
Robert Louis Stevenson

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/21/11 -

INDIA - Sikkim quake may have been induced by dams across Teesta River. The presence of multiple dams on the river Teesta and its tributaries could either induce or accelerate earthquakes. “In early 1970 a major earthquake in Maharashtra had been triggered by the Koyna dam located on the Sahyadri Hills. Though the role of the dams on the River Teesta in the recent quake is yet to be studied, the earthquake could have been induced or accelerated by the dams (dam induced seismicity)".
A committee on landslides, which also studied the tectonic plate movement, handed over recommendations to the government of West Bengal in 2000. The committee recommended that no constructions should be allowed on the rivers. The Central government’s “master vision” identifies the North-Eastern region as “India’s future powerhouse” by building about 168 dams in the region. To do this, the Teesta river in Sikkim is being extensively dammed. Around 35 hydel power projects have been identified in this region. The Teesta river originates in Sikkim and flows through North Bengall. “It is very unfortunate that the Government does not pay heed to recommendations of its own committee for which the public have to suffer. Something more devastating can happen any day. It is time the public woke up and pressurized the Government to act more reasonably. Electricity in lieu of lives is not a very human option."
The Himalayas are a young chain of mountains formed by the Indian tectonic plate colliding with the Eurasian plate. While the river Teesta flows in a north-south direction, the Himalayan fault lines lie in the east west direction. “A major fault line is located at Kalijhora (considered the best location to study Himalayan fault lines) and Teesta Low Dam Stage 4 is located at Kalijhora.. Owing to the dams checking the flow of the river, the water becomes heavy and starts going down, usually seeping into crevasses. “Water being a new element in the faults and crevasses in the mountain, the mountain starts adjusting which causes the seismic movements." The very flow of Teesta is an indicator of the fault line. While in Sikkim the Teesta flows in curves (zig zag) after Teesta, it flows in a straight line which suggests that it could be flowing along a fault line in West Bengal. “Very few earthquake movements are in a North-South direction but the 6.8 magnitude quake which hit Sikkim and this region was in a North-South movement. The epicenter was at the base of Mount Kanchenjunga. The mountain moved. It took a mere two seconds for the earthquake to reach North Bengal University near Siliguri in the plains from Gangtok which is VERY UNUSUAL".
“A full scale inspection and study should be conducted by geologists and earth scientists into the recent quake and on the dam induced seismicity. It should be an independent probe not influenced by the Government. We should not be accelerating or bringing in such natural events otherwise we will definitely have to pay a dear price."

Nepal quake stirs concerns for capital - Seismic experts have renewed fears that Kathmandu, Nepal's capital, would suffer an extraordinary human casualty toll if struck by an earthquake, due to poor urban planning and design. The concerns resurfaced after the powerful 6.9 earthquake struck northeastern Nepal, India and Tibet on Sunday, killing 81 people and wreaking havoc in the region. If a quake hit the capital of Nepal, ranked by the United Nations as the11th most earthquake-prone country, experts say 100,000 people could be killed in the city and most of its buildings could be destroyed beyond repair. (link goes to youtube interview)


In the Atlantic -
Tropical storm Ophelia was located about 1065 mi (1715 km) E of the Leeward Islands.

In the Pacific -
-Tropical storm Hilary was located about 95 mi. (55 km) S of Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Hilary is expected to become a hurricane today as it moves south of the coast of Mexico.

-Tropical Storm 18w (Roke) was located approximately 90 nm north-northeast of Tokyo, Japan.

The powerful typhoon Roke that hit Japan on Wednesday has been making its way across the country, bringing floods, damage and deaths. At least six people have been killed by the storm, with many others missing or injured. The storm, which caused winds of 162km/h (100mph), passed near the capital Tokyo and the damaged nuclear power plant at Fukushima. However, it now looks as if the storm is losing strength.
Roke, the second typhoon to hit Japan this month, made landfall on Wednesday afternoon (0500GMT) in Hamamatsu. It then moved up the main island of Honshu before passing near Tokyo, where thousands of commuters were stranded with trains suspended. More than 200 domestic flights were also cancelled, while at least 200,000 households in central Japan were without electricity late on Wednesday. Typhoon Roke's fierce winds battered Tokyo before the storm passed Roke later headed up Japan's north-east coast past Fukushima. One of the main worries was that the heavy rain could force radioactive water from the crippled nuclear plant into the sea. The storm damaged security cameras set up to monitor the plant but it did not appear to have caused any water to overflow.


Researchers to study dangerous, deadly weather phenomenon - atmospheric blocking.
Atmospheric blocking is a relatively unknown weather phenomenon responsible for prolonged bouts of extreme conditions, such as the summer 2011 Midwest heat wave that led to destructive wildfires in Texas. "Atmospheric blocking occurs when a high pressure system gets stuck in one place. If hot, dry weather doesn't move, it can lead to extreme heat and drought conditions. If a rainy pattern becomes stuck, it can lead to flooding."
Atmospheric blocking occurs between 20-40 times each year throughout the world and usually lasts between 8-11 days. Although atmospheric blocking is ONE OF THE RAREST WEATHER EVENTS, it can trigger dangerous conditions, such as the 2003 European heat wave that caused 40,000 deaths. Blocking usually results when a powerful, high-pressure area gets stuck in one place. Because they cover a large area, fronts behind them are blocked. Researchers will develop new methods for spotting and predicting atmospheric blocking. They also will analyze the social and economic impacts that blocking events caused during the 20th century. By better understanding the effects of blocking and how to identify the weather phenomenon, forecasters and government officials will be able to better prepare communities for extreme weather. "Blocking events are important because of the effects on people living in affected areas. Heat waves caused by blocking killed 15,000 people in Russia last year."
Atmospheric blocking has a major effect on the environment and commerce. In 2004, a blocking event over Alaska decreased precipitation and increased temperatures. The heat melted glaciers and, when coupled with decreased precipitation, it caused fierce forest fires in the interior of the state. Blocking can also have positive effects. In 2004, blocking caused prolonged pleasant temperatures and sunny skies leading to excellent crop yields in Missouri. However, a cold snap in spring 2007 caused by blocking killed budding plants.


100 fires burning throughout New South Wales, Australia, as firefighters continue to battle a four-day bush blaze in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. 18 are uncontained.
Fire officials say the blaze behind Olympian Parade at the Blue Mountains is the worst to have hit the state this week, with firefighters battling to save six homes. It's believed to have been deliberately lit on Monday and has been difficult to control due to the dense bushland nearby.
Bushfires continue to cause havoc - Firefighters say bushfires burning out of control south-east of Alice Springs appear likely to link up.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

RE-ENTRY ALERT: UARS, a NASA satellite the size of a small bus, will re-enter the atmosphere later this week. Best estimates place the re-entry time during the late hours of Friday, Sept. 23rd over a still-unknown region of Earth. "It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry. Predictions will become more refined over the next two days." The disintegration of UARS is expected to produce a fireball that could be visible even in broad daylight. Not all of the 12,500-pound spacecraft will burn up in the atmosphere; according to a NASA risk assessment, as many as 26 potentially hazardous pieces of debris could be scattered along a ground track some 500 miles long. The same report puts the odds of a human casualty at 1 in 3200.

**Action will remove the doubt that theory cannot solve.**
Petryl Hsieh

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
9/20/11 -


Volcano oozes lava on Alaskan Aleutian Island - The Mount Cleveland volcano is erupting with the effusion of lava within the summit crater on an uninhabited island about 1500km (940 miles) south-west of Anchorage. Satellite data last week showed a "thermal anomaly," indicating the lava dome was growing.
Observers were able to measure the lava dome at 165 metre in diameter, up from 150 metres on September 9. The lava dome remains about 20 metres below the eastern rim of the summit crater. The observatory says a growing lava dome increases the possibility of an explosive eruption that could send ash high into the sky.
Lava overflowing the rim is another possibility.

INDIA - Quake toll mounts to 92. More than 3000 people were rescued in quake-hit areas of Sikkim by defence forces which scrambled hard to clear debris of collapsed structures and landslides as the death toll in Sunday's powerful temblor shot up to 92. Rescuers on Wednesday struggled to reach the devastated areas where "heavy casualties" were feared.
Sikkim quake UNUSUAL, say geologists - The earthquake that rocked Sikkim Sunday is unusual in terms of its "unusually greater magnitude" and nature of origin. It is different from the usual Himalayan thrust earthquakes that are caused by the collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate. These earthquakes are different in the sense that they are along the somewhat north-south structures trending transverse to the east-west Himalayan axis. "This 6.9 magnitude earthquake possibly occurred on a northwest-southeast trending almost vertical fault through strike slip motion. This is what we generally do not expect in the Himalayas. We expect large magnitude earthquakes on the detachment having thrust motion on gently dipping planes - like the 1999 Chamoli and 1991 Uttarkashi earthquakes...This is POSSIBLY THE LARGEST MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE OF THIS TYPE IN THE HIMALAYAS."
Geologists are also surprised at the fewer number of aftershocks - only two to three aftershocks of magnitude greater than 4.5. "So where are all the aftershocks gone? Are they yet to occur in the following days? We need to be careful" if, in the coming days, the aftershocks occur southeast of the main shock epicentre - the way two aftershocks have occurred. "The region where the main shock occurred has very low population density, but further southeast, population density is higher. The occurrence of this earthquake does not lower down the threat from the great earthquake which we expect in the Himalayas." The one (or more) which is expected will be a thrust type earthquake on the detachment which will be much more devastating than this one. "We need to treat each and every earthquake in a special way, you just need to turn it around and it will tell a somewhat different story." Geologists do not think this particular event in Sikkim can be treated as a precursory signal to any major earthquake that may occur in future along the Himalayan arc. "Having said that, the fact remains that some historically earthquake-deficient parts of the Himalayas has the potential to generate large earthquakes any time, irrespective of the present earthquake."

In the Atlantic -
Tropical storm Ophelia was located about 1585 mi (2555 km) ESE of the northern Leeward Islands. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

In the Pacific -
Typhoon Roke was located approximately 230 nm southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. Roke should make landfall in the southwest of Tokyo, near Hamamatsu (Shizuoka Prefecture) today.

Japan braces for strong typhoon - More than a million Japanese have been warned to leave their homes, as a strong typhoon is forecast to land and make its way across Japan's largest island of Honshu today. The Japan Meteorological Agency was calling for "the greatest possible vigilance" as Typhoon Roke, bringing strong winds and heavy rain, approached this morning. As of 10am local time (11am AEST), the typhoon was located some 40 kilometres off the southern-most tip of the Kii Peninsula.
The storm was heading northeast toward the Tokai region in central Japan at a speed of 35 kilometres per hour, packing winds of up to 216km/h. It will likely reach Fukushima prefecture, which was severely hit by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster, about 9pm local time. The city of Nagoya, a regional commercial hub located near the home of Toyota Motor, issued an evacuation advisory to some 1.09 million residents at one point yesterday because of worries that rivers might burst their banks. The advisory was lifted from parts of the city, but landslide, flooding and tornado warnings affected more than a million people were still in place as night fell.
UPDATE - Powerful typhoon Roke has made landfall in Japan, killing four people and lashing some areas with heavy rainfall.